Contributed photo The Journey of Christmas display tradition returns at St. Mark’s, Ocean Park.

Journeying back to the first Christmas

Journeying back to the first Christmas

It doesn’t take long to see – about 22 minutes – but The Journey of Christmas at St. Mark’s, Ocean Park is one display that will make the whole family think about the scriptural story at the heart of the seasonal celebration.

“This Christmas treat has put Christ first in its celebration of the Christmas season,” said long-time organizer and publicity person Brian Walks

A bracing winter walk in the woods behind the church takes participants past nine separate diorama theatres featuring scenes from the ‘first Christmas’ – including mannequins representing the shepherds, the angels, Simeon, the three kings, and, of course, the manger scene.

For some it’s an enduring tradition, while for first-time viewers – particularly the young – it’s an imagination-fueling reminder of core precepts of the Christian faith, and their relevance in today’s world.

It’s also a very community way to celebrate, followed by good fellowship and entertainment over cookies and a cup of hot chocolate in the church hall.

Now in its 19th season, the Journey of Christmas is a volunteer event that has seen an average of 1,000 visits each year, and organizers also pride themselves on the accompanying “arts showcase” of local entertainers who enjoy coming out and adding to the celebration.

This year’s lineup is no exception, Walks said.

First entertainers this year are the youthful voices of the Boy Scouts tonight (Friday), followed on Saturday by a contingent of singers from the erstwhile Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society (now known as FVGSS, a Musical Theatre Company) and, on Sunday by well-known husband and wife team of tenor Chris Simmons and soprano Debra Da Vaughn.

“There’s about 20 of the (FVGSS) singers – they love coming out on a Saturday and singing carols and some of their show tunes and there’s a lot of audience participation,” Walks said.

Also coming up are the Domaren Recorder Consort (Dec. 18), the Langley Ukulele Association (Dec. 19), former White Rock Children’s Choir singers and instrumentalists Ashley, Cierra and Jordon Van Ness (Dec. 20), St. Mark’s own choir, directed by Emily Worden-Kwok (Dec. 21), Rwandan-Canadian singers Florence & Rosemary (Dec. 22), and choir pianist Cecilia Wong & Friends (Dec. 23).

“The Domaren Consort, from Tsawwassen, have been with us before – they raise the level of recorder music way above what we might recall from school,” Walks said.

“And the Langley Ukulele Association, new to the event, are just amazing – this group will be nine to 12 year-olds who have great musical talent, both singing and playing the ukulele – while Florence & Rosemary, who perform as their gift of thanks to Canada, are very lively singers of Rwandan and African songs and also have some Christmas music in their repertoire.”

The by-donation display is open Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m., and from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the church, 12953 20 Ave.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock funds cultural activities moved online by COVID-19

Museum, community orchestra receive production grants

Surrey council sets new rules for Good Citizen of the Year award

Candidates have more hurdles to jump before getting nominated for the prestigious local title

Lottery win ‘doesn’t feel real’ for White Rock man

$75,000 BC/49 ticket purchased at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

EXPLORE SURREY: Tee up some adventures in the city

Also: A walk through Surrey’s public art collection

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Friends do ‘amazing’ home makeover for retired police officer

Pitt Meadows RCMP veteran was away getting treatment for PTSD

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

Most Read